Announcing NFT Support for Oracle Blockchain Platform

May 9, 2022 | 8 minute read
Mark Rakhmilevich
Vice President, Blockchain Product Management
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Every day we hear the news about non-fungible tokens sweeping the globe, and the skyrocketing demand for these digital assets. Soon you’ll be able to add a Starbucks NFT to your morning coffee order. NFTs represent real world digital twins or native digital assets on the blockchain – with most popular categories today including unique digital art, iconic sport or other events videos, or memorabilia linked to teams or sports superstars. Is there a future for NFTs in representing enterprise assets in order to streamline asset tracking, certification management, supply chain operations, ESG investing, and other business operations?

Considering the challenges of NFT marketplaces overwhelmed by fraud, stymied by volatile transaction “gas” fees, pressured by concerns about environmental impact of high energy consumption and CO2 emissions, plagued by constant security issues and clogged networks, it’s difficult to see how enterprises can experiment, much less rely on these capabilities in their business operations.

Enterprise NFT Capabilities on Oracle Blockchain

Which is why today Oracle is announcing native NFT support on its market-leading enterprise blockchain – Oracle Blockchain Platform. Following the support for fungible tokens (FTs) last year through its innovative low-code Blockchain App Builder, today we are releasing Blockchain App Builder for Oracle Blockchain Platform v22.2.1 with support for non-fungible tokens modeled on ERC-721 spec, but extended with enterprise-focused benefits and capabilities. Available immediately, you can download the new version of Blockchain App Builder from the OCI Blockchain Platform console under Developer Tools and use the included NFT token sample template to auto-generate and deploy your NFT chaincode.

In the past some customers have already created NFTs using Oracle Blockchain using custom or partner-provided application chaincodes to emulate ERC-721 functionality. These are used for minting NFTs from photographs, rich membership experience in a music icon’s fan club, and trading personalized short videos related to a US football team and the movie about the iconic family that owned the team franchise. More recently we have seen a greater interest in NFT representations of assets across various industries, with some examples shown below.
Growing number of NFT use cases in B2C and B2B scenarios

Now these use cases can be easily built with native Oracle Blockchain NFT support using the tools included at no additional cost in the OCI Blockchain Platform. The Blockchain App Builder is a low-code development toolset for Oracle Blockchain Platform that increases productivity and accelerates innovation. It can automatically generate chaincode for basic CRUD methods and persistence APIs from a declarative template and empowers a blockchain application developer to create the smart contracts faster, deploy and test chaincodes very easily and substantially reduces the code defects and maintenance effort. With the tokenization support, the token lifecycle methods and APIs can be automatically generated and deployed in minutes after you tailor the included templates, which model both fungible and now non-fungible tokens, to your specific needs.

For NFT support the templates now allow the token asset type to specify “erc721+” standard, on which NFT behaviors and functions are modeled.  The supported behaviors, from which the relevant chaincode methods and token properties are derived, include Indivisible (singleton), Mintable, Transferable, Burnable, and Roles (for role-based security) - the last two being extensions to ERC-721.

The intrinsic attributes maintained for each NFT token defined as “erc721+” standard include:

  • Token ID, Token URI
  • Token Owner
  • Created By, Creation Date/Timestamp
  • Transferred By, Transfer Date/Timestamp
  • Burned By, Burned Date/Timestamp
  • Burned Status Flag

In addition, custom metadata attributes (updateable by the minter, who creates the token) and custom properties (updateable by any current owner of the token) can be specified in the templates with comprehensive validation rules – to be enforced by the auto-generated code. At token initialization, the generated chaincode methods create custodial wallets for managing the accounts and enforcing role-based security. Standard create, update, query, transfer, safe transfer, and burn methods are automatically generated. These are available as an SDK to invoke from custom methods as well as REST APIs for client applications. In all over 30 auto-generated methods are available to support the complete NFT lifecycle, providing a rich set of enabling functionality for tokenization applications. Initial feedback from early users, such as an Oracle partner Ticketcoin, points out the benefits.  

"Thanks to the native integration of NFT support in the Oracle Blockchaun Platform -OBP- we are able to save more than 60% of time in the development phase and even more in code maintenance since developers can focus only on business logic using bult-in functions, without writing all the "glue" code with the result of a code more readable and easier for bug fixing. As Ticketcoin, we have benefited enormously from this new OBP feature," said Luca Mencacci, Ticketcoin CTO

The Plus in ERC721+

What makes this NFT support a better fit for many enterprise needs is both the blockchain platform that supports it and the capabilities we have implemented in the NFT itself.  Using a permissioned blockchain platform in OCI means there are no “gas” fees or any transaction costs – the platform cost is fixed based on the deployed scale as measured by OCPU metric.  There’s also low energy consumption and near-zero CO2 emissions compared with public chains, while the platform can scale to 100s of transactions/second and provide low latency required for business transactions. As a permissioned blockchain based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric open source project with a number of Oracle enhancements, the confidentiality, privacy, and auditability benefits are unmatched in the industry.

When it comes to NFTs themselves, the following key capabilities extend the basic ERC-721 standard to provide greater flexibility, utility, and security.

Custodial wallets used to manage NFT accounts

Custodial wallets are most user-friendly means to track NFTs.  Users do not need to remember and secure their private keys, they don’t need to download any additional software to set up and manage wallets as custodial wallets represented on-chain can be easily integrated and made accessible in the enterprise applications and portals. The recurring woes of unrecoverable accounts or tokens transferred to an inaccessible account don’t happen – users can recover their accounts by requesting needed information from the platform operator at any time.

Dynamic NFT attributes and attached data

These NFTs can be extended with two sets of additional properties:

  • Extended metadata can be updated by the minter after they've created the NFT but before they transfer it, which enables any additional metadata to be linked to the NFT as needed, e.g., prior provenance information, or URIs for additional content that may be accessible post-sale just before the first transfer operation.
  • Custom properties can be updated by a current owner of the NFT at any time, which enables owners to track relevant information, e.g., whether the NFT is for sale, associated price or value points, milestone updates for an ESG project, currency of a certification represented by the NFT, etc.​​​​​

Built-in robust security

ERC721+ NFTs support role-based security for account creation, token minting, and token burning. These roles can be associated with user credentials managed as client enrollments in X.509 certificates and validated through the OCI Identity management service. The token operations are recorded on-chain with identity of the initiating party and endorsing party. In addition, embedded function-level security with auto-identification of the caller in the function enables more granular access control, if required. Full audit trail in the ledger identifies both the initiator and endorsers of every transaction along with all the transaction details, and using OBP audit APIs the integrity of the ledger blocks can always be verified.

Burn behavior

This extension to standard ERC-721 capabilities enables tokens to be terminated when obsolete or transferred to another ledger. Cross-ledger transfers can be performed using well known Hash Time-Locked Contract (HTLC) mechanism, which enables atomic swap across multiple ledgers, for example Oracle Blockchain and Ethereum, ensuring that the exchange either completes for both parties or it doesn’t happen at all. The transferred token would be subsequently burned on the original ledger and re-minted on the new ledger, with its prior provenance and trading history included as metadata.

Easy-to-use REST APIs

Unlike traditional public chains, which require an external service or provider for RESTful access, OCI Blockchain Platform has an integrated REST API gateway, which makes token operations available through the REST APIs without requiring any additional components, thus avoiding extra costs and complexity to maintain and manage separate services. Both synchronous mode and asynchronous APIs are supported as well as event subscriptions with callback URLs for notifications or downstream integrations.

Flexibility to embed NFTs into complex applications

Using tailorable templates you can easily tailor the NFT behaviors, set up custom metadata and custom properties, specify additional assets, as well as define custom methods necessary for business use cases. The auto-generated chaincode provides a comprehensive SDK for your specific NFT class, and enables you to build more complex business logic on top. With over 30 auto-generated methods, you can easily embed NFTs in a wide range of applications, where immutable and dynamic asset properties can co-exist, lifecycle operations can be performed only in authorized manner with proper verification, and full audit trail is always available and transparent to the authorized participants. With OCI Blockchain Platform NFTs you can also easily integrate live analytics with data visualizations and AI/ML capabilities, such as anomaly detection.

All these features will be illustrated in detail in a subsequent post on How to Create NFTs Quickly and Easily using Oracle’s Blockchain App Builder. We will also explain how the NFTs can be exchanged using fungible tokens as payments, for example in the context of a rewards program.

With all these capabilities you can take these NFTs much further – beyond simulating on-line trading cards. For NFTs to be adopted in the broader business operations, the underlying infrastructure and the key capabilities must measure up to enterprise requirements around NFT creation and subsequent operations. Oracle’s newly available NFT support on OCI Blockchain Platform raises the bar on security and authorizations to facilitate fraud detection, role-based custodial wallet management, business confidentiality, as well as privacy and regulatory compliance – all capabilities that are inherent in a permissioned blockchain platform. Oracle NFT operations also provide enterprise-grade throughput and high availability with financially-backed SLAs. Their adoption is greatly helped by ease of integration with ERPs and other enterprise systems of record for financial reporting, tax compliance, etc. Enterprise tracking requirements and reconciliation processes also benefit from support for dynamic NFT content and custom business logic involved in validating and making these updates, while audit compliance is assured by maintaining immutable core properties and providing cryptographically verifiable and transparently-accessible transaction history of NFT creation and subsequent operations.

NFT Marketplace Solution Architecture

B2C companies can use NFTs to represent consumer-accessible digital twins or direct digital assets and make them available in an e-commerce website modeled on NFT marketplaces backed by the Oracle Blockchain Platform ledger and smart contracts generated by the Blockchain App Builder. There are a number of benefits to doing this on a permissioned blockchain using the features described above. The marketplace could leverage Oracle Content Management service for creating and managing the digital assets that make up the NFTs, CX Commerce for personalized commerce and payments integration needed to trade NFTs, and a range of other OCI services for security, integration, analytics, etc.  A detailed architecture blueprint for creating such an NFT marketplace is described in the Deploy an enterprise NFT Marketplace using Oracle Blockchain solution playbook on the OCI Architecture Center. It will be explored in detail in a subsequent post. 

Mark Rakhmilevich

Vice President, Blockchain Product Management

Mark is responsible for Blockchain strategy and products. He focuses on evolving Oracle Blockchain Platform and Oracle Database Blockchain Tables in the cloud and on-premises to meet the needs of customers and partners for scalable, secure, production-ready platform to support blockchain solutions. He helps to guide customers and partners around the world in applying blockchain technology to deliver on key business outcomes – accelerating growth, reducing costs and friction in business ecosystems, reducing risk and fraud, and bringing to market innovative solutions that solve real-world societal challenges. Mark facilitates customers’ journey from rapid experimentation to live production through discovery, sharing industry use cases and best practices, and advising on solution architecture.

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